Solving Teenage Mothers’ Childhood Immunization

Immunization for working mothers (SheVaccs) is an intervention targeted at working mothers in the informal markets of Ibadan to address problem of vaccine hesitance and drop-out among different categories of mother. These mothers have great responsibilities – keeping their homes stable and their children healthy. But these mothers have challenges of time, and for teenage mothers they are faced with socio-cultural obstacles. Time among working mother is a symbol and metaphor of survival, it can make the difference between loss of customers, income and jobs and a hopeful future. Economic stability is crucial to many teenage mothers who live on the fringe of poverty. In relation to these challenges, SheVaccs Mobile clinics provided immunization, counselling services, and information around vaccination schedules. The intervention covered teenage mother population in the selected markets.

Mobile clinic were set up in 3 different purposively selected markets in Ibadan, namely, Bodija market (Area Latosaa LCD-Ibadan North Local Government), Oje Markets (Ibadan North East Local Government area), and Oja-Oba Market (Ibadan South East Local Government Area). Data were collected through qualitative methods of observation and 21 in-depth interviews with teenage mothers, and 6 key informant interviews with their significant others. Data were sorted and content analyzed.

Teenage mothers find it difficult to attend traditional immunization centers, due to stigmatization, subtle hostility and embarrassment they experienced during pregnancy and after in some of these centers. They preferred an immunization service that is mobile, with “strangers” who are friendly, understanding and will not judge them for ‘’being anti-social’’.  They preferred Mobile clinic because it does not waste time (5 to 7 minutes), which allows them to do other thing or concentrate on their job (source of survival), provide quick, friendly counselling and intervention for their immunization related worries. 

Friendly Mobile immunization services targeted at teenage mothers will remove clog of stigmatization and hostility that prevent teenage mothers from accessing immunization. Thus, reducing non-vaccination and drop-out rates among teenage mothers.

SheVaccs’s friendly immunization service is a possible panacea to immunization hesitance and drop-off among teenage mothers in Ibadan.  

Author:

Olukemi K. Amodu, Mofeyisara O. Omobowale and Folakemi A. Amodu

Institute of Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan

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